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Civil and human rights

Under the guise of fighting COVID, governments have greatly expanded their power over their citizens. Emergency order after emergency order has severely encroached on personal liberties, in a way that was unthinkable before. The US Attorney General at the time agreed, saying that lockdowns and associated policies were one of the “greatest intrusions on civil liberties in American history”.[1]

Across the world, freedom of religion was severely restricted by the closure of places of worship and the limiting of the number of worshipers that can gather either indoors or outdoors. By November 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down this restriction concluding that the state’s closure of places of worship violated freedom of religion since the state considered them “non-essential” while permitting other facilities to remain open.[2] Freedom of assembly was restricted by limiting the kinds and size of gatherings, including those in one’s own home.

Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of people have been detained and held without due process, and without judicial appeal simply because they may have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. Israel even utilized its security services to monitor the movement of citizens without the need to procure a court order.[3] Later, the government acknowledged that thousands were falsely sent to isolation because of this system.[4][5] A government audit found that only 3-7% of those sent to isolation by the system eventually tested positive for COVID.[6] Eventually, the Israeli High Court ruled against the government’s surveillance program.[7]

Governments continued to mandate the wearing of intrusive medical devices (masks) based on little research, and even after they proved ineffective at preventing further waves of infection.[8] Governments restricted travel unless the traveller submitted to an invasive PCR test[9] even though the tests were unreliable.[10] The Supreme Court of Portugal ruled that the test was not sufficiently reliable and resulting quarantines were unlawful.[11] 

While most courts did not overturn the lockdown measures, there have been a number of court rulings that did strike down various lockdown measures including in Brussels,[12] Germany,[13] The Netherlands,[14] Madrid,[15] Pennsylvania,[16] Michigan,[17] and Wisconsin.[18]

 

Email questions or comments to frontlinepedia@aflds.org

Footnotes:

[1]:

“Greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history” other than slavery”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/isabeltogoh/2020/09/17/barr-labels-stay-at-home-orders-the-greatest-intrusion-on-civil-liberties-since-slavery/#3251afa76c8f

[2]:

Strikes at the very heart of the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty”

https://agudah.org/high-court-victory-for-religious-liberty/[fn]

Government restrictions on free speech and criticism of the government were also imposed in at least 72 countries.[fn]Since the coronavirus outbreak began, the condition of democracy and human rights has grown worse in 80 countries”

https://freedomhouse.org/report/special-report/2020/democracy-under-lockdown

[4]:

Over 12,000 mistakenly quarantined by phone tracking, Health Ministry admits

https://www.timesofisrael.com/over-12000-mistakenly-quarantined-by-phone-tracking-health-ministry-admits/

[6]:

Shin Bet sent between three to eight times as many people into quarantine unnecessarily when compared to epidemiological investigations”

https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/comptroller-end-shin-bet-surveillance-of-corona-infected-citizens-646990

[8]:

Charts showing infections and mask mandates

https://rationalground.com/mask-charts/

[9]:

Entry to those areas will be allowed for those who underwent a coronavirus test during the preceding 72 hours”

https://www.timesofisrael.com/as-cases-rise-eilat-and-dead-sea-open-to-israeli-tourists-strip-malls-reopen/

[10]:

“PCR test does not necessarily mean the virus is present, infectious, or viable”

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/292466

[11]:

Portuguese Court Rules PCR Tests “Unreliable” & Quarantines “Unlawful””

https://off-guardian.org/2020/11/20/portuguese-court-rules-pcr-tests-unreliable-quarantines-unlawful/


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